Manchester United are close to agreeing a world-record £70m-a-year shirt sponsorship deal with Chinese company Haier, according to reports.
Their current deal with Chevrolet is not set to run out until 2021, but United are believed to be keen to move on from the deal in favour of a more lucrative agreement with another organisation.
According to The Sun, Haier have expressed an interest in becoming United's next shirt sponsor, and representatives from the consumer electronics group have been in the UK to hold talks at United's London offices.
A deal is said to be close, although United are prepared to listen to all other options before putting pen to paper on the huge £70m agreement.
"United’s sponsorship process has become an industry benchmark. Their shirt is one of the most valuable assets in world sport," a source is quoted as saying.
However, before they can sign with Haier, they would have to terminate their deal with Chevrolet. Fortunately, the American car giants are also said to be keen to move on from United, meaning that an agreement should not be too hard to reach.
Should Haier manage to strike a deal, they could opt to include the name and logo of one of their many brands on United's shirt. Haier own companies like Candy, Aqua and Hoover, but it is not yet clear which they would include on the Red Devils' shirt.
United's current deal with Chevrolet is already the biggest in world sport, so any improved deal with Haier would only set the benchmark even higher.
The Red Devils are easily one of the biggest brands in the world, and there are said to have been plenty of offers from companies looking to take over from Chevrolet as the club's primary shirt sponsor.
Things are going well from a business perspective, but life is not so rosy on the pitch for United these days.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side currently sit ninth in the Premier League, although they are actually closer to the relegation zone than they are to the top four. Fortunately, that does not appear to have harmed their brand, so a bumper sponsorship deal remains a real possibility.
Source : 90min